Google+ : How I Am Using It

I have been trying to find a way to get Google+ to work for me.  I have always been a great advocate of Google but I didn't want yet another social media platform to update constantly with another mixture of friends to entertain at regular intervals.  Getting my head round 'circles' and sharing was one task and the fact that it was so quiet on the G+ platform was another.  Beta testing mode meant that it was rolled out slowly, hence less 'noise' but I felt that users were feeling the need to be seen to be active as I was seeing updates in triplicate across G+, Facebook and Twitter.

You may have noticed that I don't display a blog roll - this is for many reasons.  Mainly because blogs can become static very quickly but also because I personally believe that a link from me is a recommendation.  There may be a post on someone's blog that I don't advocate, yet that link would be auto-displayed on the blog roll.  So instead, I choose to subscribe to literally hundreds of blogs in my Google Reader - again for a couple of reasons.  My Google Reader is a great source for research/reference purposes.  If I'm writing something and want to underpin my theory or reasoning, I find a blogger that I trust using the search facility within Google Reader.  Secondly, I love to read for inspiration and I used to be able to 'share' a post that I recommended with one click and a link to that blog post would be displayed in a widget on my blog.  This facility is no longer available so I have been mourning the loss of my Google Reader "shared items".
The development of the Google +1 button has meant that I can personally recommend more or less anything on the internet to my online community and I can house those recommendations within my Google+ profile.  If you give online content a +1 recommendation this will show in Google search results - an endorsement (see the example below).

But, in addition to pushing a +1 recommendation to Google web searches, if you keep your cursor hovered over the +1 button a box will appear with "You publicly +1'd this as [your name]" and a comment box with the prompt 'Share on Google+'.  Clicking on this comment box opens up the option to choose 'circles' on Google+ to recommend the content to (of course, this only works if you have an existing Google+ profile).

I feel I already have an organic and interactive social media presence and I have Twitter and Facebook linked in a number of ways (personal choice - that's not for everyone) but we still have a barrier to communication when it comes to transferring content from my Google Reader back to the whole of my online community.  So I did a little digging and found a great site called WidgetPlus who have designed a Google Plus widget (with really easy installation instructions) that displays a link to your G+ profile with an optional news stream displayed underneath.  As you can see, my recent recommendations scroll by and you can click straight through to the full list by clicking on my name.  

I full recommend that every blogger has a +1 button on their blog although some of the generic share options and plug-ins already have it included.  Why don't you have a play around with the +1 button on the left and see how you can recommend individual blog posts direct onto your own G+ profile?

You can also create a "page" on Google+ for your business or your blog.  
I have one for Typecast but it isn't very interactive at the moment.